Roberts' late field goal give Cats first win
Last updated 10/1/2022 at 1:20pm
ALBUQUERQUE — Senior R.J. Nora rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries and junior Kash Roberts kicked a go-ahead 27-yard field goal with three seconds left as Clovis High’s football team broke into the win column on Friday night with a 31-28 victory over Albuquerque High in the District 5-6A opener for both teams.
Roberts, who also booted four extra points and rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown, capped a 13-play, 70-yard drive with his field goal after the Bulldogs (1-5) had tied the game with just under five minutes remaining.
“It feels good to see the hard work pay off,” said first-year coach Andrew McCraw after notching his first victory at the Wildcats’ helm. “The kids played really, really hard and our assistant coaches did a good job of getting them to understand our game plan.”
Clovis (1-5) rushed for 351 yards for the game with Nora getting his most carries and yards this season, running mainly out of a slot position. He rambled 84 yards for a score on the game’s second play from scrimmage, and added a 7-yard TD run with 4:29 left in the third stanza to put Clovis ahead 21-20.
The Cats then recovered a squib kick near the Bulldogs’ 25. Nora carried for 23 yards on the first play before senior Brian Weiss went over from the 2 to make it 28-20, their second touchdown in a span of less than two minutes.
Albuquerque High tied it with 4:48 left when sophomore quarterback Isaac Houlihan tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to senior tight end Jesus Vidaca Jr., then caught the 2-point conversion pass from senior Damian Garcia.
Roberts missed a potential tying extra point against Eldorado at Leon Williams Stadium on Sept. 16 in a 28-27 loss, but this time his boot for the game-winner was right down the middle.
The Cats executed a nearly flawless late drive to set up Roberts’ game-winner.
“I knew we had plenty of time to get a field goal lined up,” McCraw said. “Kash had a great kick. It probably would’ve been good from 40 yards.”
Nora also had a pass interception on defense and added a couple of good runs in the return game, McCraw said.
“R.J. stepped up big tonight,” McCraw said. “Brian Weiss blocked his tail off tonight. Every time R.J. got the ball, Brian was in there to block for him.”
The Cats return to action on Friday, hosting Santa Fe High (1-5, 0-0 district) in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Leon Williams Stadium. The Demons were run off the field by previously winless Lovington 55-8 on Friday night.
McCraw is hopeful his team can put something together in a district which appears to be up for grabs.
“We’ve got to go out and play hard, and do what we need to do to get (another) win,” he said.